Home: Learning through Pretend Play + Toddle Shop

[ Sponsored Post ]

In my previous post, I mention about trying to think of ways to add more “play” into our daily learning. And coincidentally, Toddle shop contacted me around the period to do a sponsored post. So I combined the two and got the kids on a learning activity.

The Shopping
I login to their website and the “play and learn” category caught my attention.  

Toddle shop main webpage. A category dedicated for play and learn deserves thumbsup.
 

I click into the category and is presented with products from that range. The site allow me to refine the list of products further by sub-categorizing the items. I selected “Pretend Play” and is impressed by the range of Melissa & Doug products they carry. Just as I was browsing around, Zai saw what I was looking at and asked if I’m getting toys for him. I asked him to select one for himself and he couldn’t decide between the Sushi Set or the  Coffee Set. He asked MeiMei over and the girl took a liking for the Sushi Set and chose it for herself. So the boy settled with the Coffee Set and chose another BBQ set for the littlest. I also got another Latch Board for the littlest. I just love good quality wooden toys. We received our toys within 2 days and off we go to cook up a storm! 

Always like Melissa and Doug toys. They are of good quality that last.
 

The Play and Learn
After we open up the toy, I allow some free play time for them first. This is important as I know, they weren’t be listening to much instructions once the new toys are opened. Being pretend play toys, the toys itself allows the kids to use their imagination, practice their motor skills (cutting sushi and picking them up with chopsticks) and hand eye coordination (adding the BBQ food to the skewers). 

Master Chef happily serving up his food using my ransom box as a “table”.
 

Once the kids are ready, I suggested we setup a small cafe to “sell” food. Zai volunteered to be the Master Chef, the girl choose to be waitress and naturally I became the customer. The girl came over to me to “take my order”. I told her to use the order chit from the coffee set as a menu and tick my orders accordingly (print awareness and fine motor skills). I proceed to order some sushi and BBQ food. She had to remember my order including what is the food I want on the skewer and repeat it to the boy. After the food is ready, she serves it to me and I paid before I “left” the cafe. 

I really like the BBQ set, it also help reinforce math learning pattern. The boy lace the food himself and I noticed he used the ABAB pattern for one and ABCABC pattern for the other. Learning can just take place like that.

The Play and Learn II
I’m intending to bring the learning to the next level by asking the kids to write on our white board the food they serve and the price for each item. This allow them to practice writing and also do simple calculation (calculate amount and change due). If time permits, we will come up with order chits too. Writing something that is “meaningful” to them beats doing assessment books anytime.

Learning can just take place in many form. So if you are interested in adding more fun to learning, check out Toddle. They have a range of good quality wooden toys and also other necessities for mothers like breast pump, clothes, etc. And if you quote thelittlemom15, you will get 15% off your purchase with a minimum spending of SGD70. Enjoy shopping and have a blast with the kids! I need to go back to be a customer at Zai’s cafe. Bye!

Disclaimer: We received some shopping credits to shop at Toddle shop. We make the selection ourselves and top up the difference with our own money. All views are our own and play suggestion by me and the elder boy.

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Home: Pizza Making

Unlike most CC, the childcare that the kids attend don’t ask parents to pay money for costume or props for their year end event. But rather use recycled and raw materials to make what is required. So to raise funds for that and also to employ some professional help for that day, they always held a food event where the kids will make food for sale. 

It’s a big event for the kids as they have to think of what to make, make it and ‘advertise’ it to the general public. I really like it as its a chance for parents to meetup with the school and other kids and also to sample the skills of the kids. The kids learn to cook and summon courage to ‘talk’ to strangers.

This year the girl’s teacher asked if we will like to help by teaching the kids how to cook something. We thought about it and decides that pizza making will be good for them (age 4, Nursery). We even enrolled the help from the boy’s class (age 5, K1).

So here is what you need to do.

For dough:

  1. 3 cups of flour
  2. 1 satchel (11g) of yeast
  3. 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  4. 2 tsp salt
  5. 1 cup warm water

Pour everything into a big bowl and knead till smooth. Cover and rest for 30-60mins.

For the older kid, you can get them to help measure the ingredients while the younger ones can count (numeracy). The biggest measuring spoon that the school had was 1/2 cup. So I took the opportunity to ask the kids how many spoons will we need in order to make 3 cups. Some of the K1 was able to provide the correct answer. The kneading process also allow them to train up on their little muscles. And to feel the flour turn into dough is a good sensory “play”. Some kids were commenting that it felt like play doh.

For toppings:

  1. Tomato Paste
  2. Sausages / Ham / Cooked Meat (e.g teriyaki chicken)
  3. Pineapples / Apples
  4. Bell Pepper
  5. Mozzarella Cheese

While waiting for the dough to rest, the kids can help prepare the toppings. We purposely left the skin intact for the fruits when we were cutting them so the kids get to deskin it (trains fine motor skills). We also got the kids to slice the sausages.

After resting the dough, the kids got to roll out the dough using a rolling pin and turn over a paper plate to cut out the pizza base. This trains their hand eye coordination.

Put the cut out pizza base in the oven that has been preheated to 180 degree C, for 3-5 mins for drying. Next spread the tomato paste as base, put some cheese and the toppings you want, top up with more cheese and pop it into the oven at 170 degree C. Once the cheese melt and it’s more or less ready.

The kids can of course help to decorate their own pizza. When we did it at home, the kids got to place the ingredients nicely like forming a circle using bell peppers. Unfortunately at school it was a little too chaotic to decorate to this kind of fine details.

 

Our large pizza for the teachers with all the left over ingredients.
 
It was a nice experience for me as I got to know my kids’ friends better. And I love doing cooking or baking with the kids as I find that they can learn a lot. And when they see the fruits of their labor they are usually very elated.

Besides, I also learned from the kids. One of my boy’s classmate always bake with her grandma. So she is actually very good at kneading. For a noob like me, I learned from her the proper way to knead. And when I was helping the kids deskin the apples I had wanted to give up as there were just too many apples. But seeing the kids persevered on, I was ashamed and sat through with them.

 

Chubby making the huge pizza.
 
Although we made this in school, you can also do it at home. It’s pretty easy even for a noob like me (Chubby is the one who can cook). And the time spend bonding over this pizza is priceless.

Do you have any good baking or cooking recipes that I can do with my kids? Share it here. TIA.

Home Activity: Online Shopping @ The Sunshine Kids

I always admire those parents who bring their kids along for shopping. And I mean not shopping for groceries or toys. But to shop for clothes or accessories. Basically, things that don’t really interest the kids, especially boys.

We have tried bringing the kids to shop for their own shoes, but they got “tired” after trying on the 2nd pair. And the boy couldn’t wait to get out of the shop to wonder around. The experience is worsen when there is a queue at the checkout counter. So I have learned to shop online at the comfort of my home and not struggle with two pre-schoolers that monkey around the shop.

However, with the girl growing up and having a mind (and fashion sense) of her own, she is very picky about what she wear. So now I have to involve her in my online shopping, which is not such a bad thing as I treat it as a mother and daughter activity to do together. However, the ease of navigation and usage become utmost important as the girl doesn’t have the patience to sit with me for too long.

One of the website that fits this is “The Sunshine Kids @ Agape Babies“. The navigation and submission was so simple that we bought a dress together easily.

We like it that items are categorized and we can filter the sizes by age. The thumbnails are big enough for the girl and myself to browse even on my iPad mini.

The filter at the side is by age and the thumbnail is very decently size that we need not click in to individual items to view properly.
The filter at the side is by age and the thumbnail is very decently size that we need not click in to individual items to view properly.

The girl scroll down the page on her own and when she found a dress that she really like, I taught her to touch it to view the details. Once inside we were happy that they have photos of both the front and back view of the dress.

The detail page has photos of both the front and back view of the dress!
The detail page has photos of both the front and back view of the dress!

Once the girl decided on her dress I just added it into my cart and I did the rest on my own as it is not necessary to involve the girl anymore. So now I remove the problem of my girl not wanting to wear the clothes I buy for her and we also spend sometime doing something together. In the process we also discuss about the dresses. So I get to understand her preference too (although it may change quite quickly). I thought it’s quite a good Mother Daughter activity and my first taste of “shopping” with my girl (at such a young age) without having to worry about boring her or her brother.

Discount Code for Sunshine Kids
Here is the good news. We have a discount code for all thelittlemom.com readers. Just quote thelittlemom during checkout and you will be given 15% off all dresses, that will make perfect presents this Christmas. The code is valid till 30 Dec!

And if you are wondering why you should be shopping at Sunshine Kids, here are the reasons.

  • Sunshine Kids dresses are designed for special occasions. Which is really useful for Christmas party and the upcoming new year.
  • They partnered with Agape Babies (an online store that specializes in Baby essentials) to form a multi-store. This means you can shop at both places and checkout your cart together. Hence saving on your shipping. Mummies have to be prudent right?

You can find out more about Agape Babies and The Sunshine Kids from their blog or Facebook page.

Happy Shopping!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. No monetary compensation was received. All views are our own.

Activity: Dish Washing

Sometime last year I read about how a Mummy had a washing and foam play with her little girl. I thought that was a pretty simple and fun game for Loi (24 mths at time of play) too. But I knew my MIL will never approve of me setting up such a foam play in our living room or even in the kitchen. So I tried setting up in the bathroom with their bath tub. But upon seeing the tub, the girl insist on taking off her clothes and jump in to play. A few days later, I finally found a solution.

Its fun and keeps the toys clean!
Its fun and keeps the toys clean!

I found a little yellow water tub which is too small for the girl to go in and fits nicely in our little bathroom. I threw in some toy utensils and a bath sponge. I invited the girl to play and had her put on a bib in case she got herself wet. Without a need to provide any instructions, the girl know what to do. She took the sponge and tried to “clean” up the utensils, but she found the sponge a little too big and ended up just washing with her hands (I guess she has been observing how our helper is doing the dishes).

Scooping and pouring water into the cup.
Scooping and pouring water into the cup.

Luckily I provided a teapot and a cup among the utensils. Cause after a while the girl got tired and started scooping water with the teapot and pours them into the cup. She spend a good 15 minutes just playing that. This activity is good for their hand-eye coordination has they need to focus to pour the water into the cup.

Its also good that we were doing it in the bathroom, so it was pretty much mess free. I don’t have to worry that its wet and someone will trip and fall. To me this is an easy to set up and fun activity. The best part of course it helps keep the toys clean too. In total, the girl was at the activity for about half an hour, which I think it must be really fun for her to be playing that long.

A thing to note though is to use warm water for the play. It helps to keep the little hands warm and they can play longer. And yes, somehow you gotta top up the water half way through their play! Have fun!

Know of any other home base and easy to set up (cause Mummy is lazy) activity? Do share with me!

Photo *Heart* Fridays: Water Fun

Thanks to MummyEd, we got a free ELC Sand and Water Table. The kids have lots of fun with it.

Kids with ELC Table
Kids with ELC Table

On the first day I brought it home, they played it in the bathroom. Lucky, that we had a dedicated bathroom that fits this table in nicely (without the legs). They were pouring water into the funnel, and when that is not enough, they brought in their watering can and an empty water bottle. It sure was so fun that my girl got totally drenched.

On the 2nd day, the boy wanted to play with it again. In fact, he wanted to bathe in it. So I pulled out the table, lay it in the bathroom and he sat in one side of the table. The other side serve as his water source as he scoop the water from there and pour it into the funnels again. When he finishes the water, he insist I top it up with more.

Last Sunday, we brought the table outside to the huge corridor that we had. And this time round, all 4 kids can play together. We limited them to just 2 pails of water. We stopped after they finishes them up. Again, the girl was totally drenched. I think the brother has been deliberately splashing onto her.

The boy has been bugging to use the table as a bath tub since. Even at night where, we normally just wipe him, he insist that he wants a bath in that table. When he sees his cousins having their bath, he wants to join in too. In fact, he got so anxious that he took off his own clothes without help from us. A sure way to motivate my boy to be independent.

I’m so glad to see the smiles on their faces. But I dare not look at my utilities for the month. *sigh*

Photo *Heart* Fridays: The Great Big Turnip

The Great Big Turnip

I recently found some stories props on kizclub.com and one of the stories that I printed for the boy was “The Great Big Turnip”. He actually will sing it to the tune of “Ba Luo Pu” in Mandarin. So that day while he was playing with the props, he request for “The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf” to come help the “Lao Gong Gong” with the great turnip. He tried to rope in his animal toys too. But he find them “too 3D” so he decides it should be kept to just the stories props.

When he says “Ba Chu Lai Lo” (pulled out already), he will start to flip all the characters such that they face downwards. And he “knows” he has to start from the last person which is “The Big Bad Wolf”.

Cute la, my boy. 😛